Motherhood has a way of putting life into perspective.
I have worked with kids my whole life. And I’ve lead large groups of kids, so I figured one kid would be a piece of cake. I definitely was very judgmental (in my head, thankfully not out loud) to moms when I was out and about. What was I thinking? Now that I am a mom, I try to be encouraging to moms who are having a bad day.
There are so many things that I swore I would never do as a mom…
1. Get an epidural
I read Supernatural Childbirth and was believing for a pain free birth. (Actually, Tim totally believed for one and I hoped for one). But I talked Tim into a child birth class anyway. The way the instructor painted the picture of the labor and delivery process was wonderful. However, pretty much the only thing that happened like she said was that Clarissa came out eventually.
There were some supernatural parts of my delivery, like the fact that I was in labor 51 hours and Clarissa and I were both completely healthy. But I definitely got the epidural.
If I had to do it over again, I would not have been so hard on myself for getting the epidural. I am not a failure or a bad mom for being exhausted and needing pain medicine. The important thing is that my baby and I are healthy. Honestly, next time, I would like to try for a natural birth. But if I have back labor again, I will probably get the epidural earlier in the process.
2. Give my baby sweets
I did really well until the summer. I pureed all of her fruits and vegetables myself and was careful about giving her table food with sugar. But one day we went out for ice cream and she really wanted some. She was still hungry after I gave her vegetables. So I gave her some of my ice cream at Skinny Dip. She loved my soy vanilla ice cream. She definitely had a few bites and was upset when it was gone. So she played with the bowl for a good half hour before Tim took it away.
Now, every time we go to Skinny Dip, she gets a few spoonfuls of my ice cream. Tim was sneaking her bites of cookie and cupcake too. So now she will get a bite or two of dessert sometimes. It’s funny because we didn’t start this until she had teeth. I guess we should start brushing them now…
3. Let my child cry it out
I hate the idea of crying it out. It feels so mean. I read some great articles and a book about sleep. The problem is that Clarissa has never read those books! I tried putting her to sleep drowsy but awake. It worked for a little while in the bassinet. I thought she actually learned to fall asleep in there. Then, I moved her to her crib at eight months thinking she knew how to fall alseep. I didn’t realize that she would move and wiggle so much that the bassinet would rock her to sleep. The crib can’t do that. So I went back to nursing her to sleep. That was fine until she stopped nursing to sleep at night. And it rarely worked for naptime in the crib. Rubbing her back while she fell asleep worked like twice. So then I tried putting a chair next to her bed and sitting with her while she fell asleep. That was worse! She hated that I was in the room with her and not holding her or playing with her.
For the first few weeks, I had to tell myself that I was a good mom. That I would actually be a bad mom if I let my nine month old decide when and if she needed to go to bed. I would do the bedtime routine, make sure she was full and had a clean diaper. And then I would let her cry. For the first week, she would cry for like 45 minutes. I hated it. So I would go outside and play with the dog, vacuum, something loud so that I wouldn’t hear her. Then I tried checking on her every 10-15 minutes, rubbing her back, and telling her I loved her. That actually made it worse. So I went back to just crying it out.
She is so smart! She has figured out that I read three books before I put her down. Not the same three books, but three books. And on the third book, she starts stalling. She flips the pages back and tries to make it last longer. She starts crying when I put the book away. She screams for 3-5 minutes and then goes to sleep.
4. Let the tv babysit my kids
Clarissa didn’t start taking naps until recently. And for six months of her life, we didn’t have a dishwasher. I have definitely put her in the jumperoo and put on Veggie Tales or Daniel Tiger so that I could get some work done around the house.
5. Yell at my child
I think this one lasted a week, two tops. I remember 3am being especially difficult. Clarissa did not learn the difference between night and day (and by that I mean she started going to bed at 2am instead of 9am) until she was two months old. I remember several weeks where she wanted Tim over me because of this during the day. Once I actually got sleep, I became a much nicer mommy.
I have also said that I don’t want my children to be gymnasts because of all of the injuries that I had. But Clarissa is really strong and flexible and she climbs on EVERYTHING! So we will see how that one goes…